Note: A major milestone in my spiritual life occurred when I found Colossians 3:15 (AMPC), “And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].” This became one of two “bumpers” in my life that have kept me running my race without getting caught up in doubt, fear of error, condemnation, or confusion. I picture a bowling alley when children are bowling. They put up the bumpers so the ball can roll the straightaway without getting off in the gutters to the right or to the left. I’ll share about the second bumper in a future blog post, but it is from Philippians 3:15b which assures us that if we are of another mind than Christ, He will let us know.
When there is a lack of peace, resist shame and knee-jerk “instant” repentance motivated by a self-consciousness to feel white-washed again. Begin to release the pressure to the Lord as You ask Him, “Where is the burden? What is the resistance to peace? What is the fear? Where is the anxiety? Where is the breach in my peace and communion with You?”
It’s all in the relationship. It’s not an academic issue to study and find one answer, a formula for all occasions. It is these paradoxes that are designed to help us grope for God, to seek Him out, to commune with Him to know His ways and His face.
It is the kindness of the Lord in His ways to interrupt peace when a transaction is needed. Whatever is resisting peace has to be identified and surrendered to the Lord. “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden” with things that have stolen your peace. Commune with Me and let me show you the burden that is not from Me. Then release the burden to Me and take Mine instead. For My burden for you is light and My yoke is easy. Come let me restore your soul and walk with Me on the Ancient Path of life (Matthew 11:28; Jeremiah 6:16).
For years I felt like I was on a hamster wheel with the concepts of sin and righteousness. On the one hand, the Bible tells me I have been made the righteousness of God by faith in Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:21). And on the other hand, I would think about verses calling me not to sin, to put off the old man and put on the new man, to resist the devil and he would flee. I would go around and around in my head when I did sin about whether or not I was still righteous and what to do about repetitive sin. I would wonder if I was to focus on the sin and repentance, but then what about being in Christ and not being obligated to reckon my sin (Romans 6:11)?
Where did I land? It’s all in the relationship. It’s not an academic issue to study and find one answer, a formula for all occasions. It is these paradoxes that are designed to help us grope for God, to seek Him out, to commune with Him to know His ways and His face.
Are their biblical truths that guide me? Definitely. I am a new creation, and I have been made the righteousness of God. I am now working out in my life what Christ worked in to me at the cross. So, praise God I am free from condemnation (Rom. 8:1), and I have peace with God (Rom. 5:1). When sin is present, or when I am tempted (which is not sin), I don’t need to panic and give in to knee-jerk repentance to white wash myself. I can come boldly before the throne of grace in my time of need. I can bring the lack, the sin, the temptation, the place that does not want to yield to God, to Him without fear or pressure. I can commune with Him there by thanking Him for my new man and that my spirit is 100% in agreement with Him even if I’m aware that my soul and my flesh aren’t aligned yet. Like Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, I can sit before the Lord and acknowledge that I don’t yet want the will of God in my soul. I can sit with Him in that place of prayer and dependency, waiting on Him to minister to me so that my whole self can then say, “Not my will but yours be done.”
Let’s repent where repentance is needed. I love repentance—I have often said, “It is your best friend.” But the knee-jerk repentance motivated by fear will not produce the fruit of righteousness in your life. Ask the Lord for the gift of repentance and watch as He moves on your heart in a full way.
He knows we’re frail. He is not ashamed of or afraid of your humanity. You can see this in all the great men and women of God He chose throughout the Bible. Who do you identify with in the Bible that God called and used? What were their temptations and cycles of sin? How did God relate to them, develop them? He wants to relate to you in those places, to bring His life and grace. He won’t relent. His kindness leads us to repentance so that we can be filled up to all the fullness of God.